Currently, Mississippi’s fuel tax rate is 18.4 cents per gallon. A bill to increase the tax on gas by 10 cent per gallon and 14 cents on diesel died this past legislative session.
During an interview on the J.T. Show with Gerard Gibert on SuperTalk Mississippi, Central District Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons says the current rate has been in place since the late 80’s. “It’s been that way since 1989 and has not changed, although the cost for repairs, and maintaining and building our highways and bridges has increased over three hundred percent.”
Simmons says rising infrastructure costs are the main problem, and it’s only going to get worse. “When you look at the auto industry, they’re moving towards electric and hybrid vehicles. That means fewer folks are going to be going to the pump, so as a result we’re going to see less revenue coming into the system.”
Simmons explained that most people think that the full 18.4 percent tax comes directly to the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Not so. “We only get around 70 percent of that. The rest goes to counties and municipalities, and other projects and programs that exist, so we only get a little over 300-million out of it.”
Simmons said, “We get dollars from other sources, and about 49 percent (around 500-million) comes from the federal government. So, we are more dependent on the federal government for our infrastructure system than individuals traveling our highways.”
Commissioner Simmons had more to say on the issue. You can hear his full comments below.